Archive for December, 2012

2013: Time for Change

Posted in Uncategorized on December 29, 2012 by amylawrencepxp

Happy New Year!! I can hardly believe 2012 is now in the rearview mirror. Sometimes it seems as though time moves faster and faster and the days pass more and more quickly until I want to slam on the emergency brake. It’s entirely fitting, though, as I stand on the gas to go full speed ahead for the new year. So many changes in store, so many adjustments to my lifestyle, so many new challenges await. But I’m thrilled for this new open door, and I’m diving in headfirst!

After almost nine years at ESPN Radio, I’ve accepted a full-time position with the brand new CBS Sports Radio Network launching across the country on January 2nd. I’ll be hosting my own four-hour shows every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. What an amazing creative opportunity — 12 hours per week to tackle the biggest topics, welcome a variety of guests, and interact with sports fans from coast to coast! I’ve always loved working nights and weekends because mine is the job to share and analyze events and stories as they break. I enjoy the immediacy of the information, and I’ve spent years honing the ability to react in the moment. It’s one of my favorite things about radio: the adrenaline jolt that comes with being the voice that delivers breaking news and scores. There may be chaos all around me and a producer may be yelling in my ear; there may be new details bombarding me from all sides. But my job is to filter quickly and then communicate what I know accurately with a sense of urgency. All this while staying relatively calm on the air. Ha! Most of these moments happen nights and weekends, so I can’t wait to get started at CBS Sports Radio the first Friday night in January.

In addition to my weekend shows, CBS will use me to fill in for Dana Jacobson weekday mornings as well as other time slots on the network. Throw in a few evening anchor shifts, and it’s a total package. I’ll choose diversity and variety over routine any day! A job that requires me to wear different hats and show off my versatility is right up my alley. To morph from a solo talk show host to a co-host to an anchor keeps me engaged and challenged and focused. Within the confines of a full-time job, I maintain the freedom to juggle several different roles. Perfect!

The best part is I don’t have to give up my play-by-play aspirations as I jump to CBS. I’m thankful to the network for recognizing my desire to broadcast basketball on both radio and TV. Not only did CBS Radio make a way for me to finish my season with the Hartford Hawks, but CBS Sports Network will use me an analyst for several TV games this winter. I’ve never asked for more than an opportunity to prove myself; and CBS is offering an unbelievable platform to showcase my knowledge, experience, and passion for the game of basketball.

The nine years at ESPN Radio changed me. There is no way to adequately describe the impact on my life and my career. I barely recognize the host who filled in for the first time in 2004. From the outside, the job may seem like a breeze. All you do is sit down and talk about sports for a few hours. But hidden from view are the constant pressure, the stiff competition, the glass ceiling for women in sports radio, the politics, the never-ending scrutiny, and the absence of any job security. These last nine years were the toughest of my career; but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m stronger, tougher, more confident and armed with a wealth of experience. I believe in myself and my abilities because they’ve been tested and shaped by years of adversity.

As I launch this next phase of my career and my life, I would be honored if you’d join me on this ride. As my first CBS show approaches, I’ll let you know when and how to listen; and I’ll continue to share the journey on Facebook, Twitter (@ALawRadio), and this blog. Thank you so much for all your support, encouragement, and prayers. They’re invaluable, and clearly, they work!

Bring on 2013! Let’s attack the new year with a vengeance!! Wooooo!

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The Definition of Forgiveness

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14, 2012 by amylawrencepxp

The unthinkable happened in the NFL on back-to-back weekends. While we were still trying to process a murder-suicide by a Chiefs linebacker, a Dallas Cowboys player died at the hands of a teammate who was driving drunk. Nose tackle Josh Brent got behind the wheel of his Mercedes with a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit; and while speeding through the Dallas suburbs, he ran into a curb and flipped his vehicle. His longtime friend Jerry Brown was pronounced dead soon after. The 25-year-old Brown had just earned a spot on the Cowboys practice squad. He was also an expectant father.

Unthinkable, unfathomable, and preventable if the pair doesn’t get in the car…if Brent doesn’t risk the life of the man he calls his “very best friend” by choosing to drive while intoxicated. Cowboys players and coaches offered their support for Brent after he posted bail on intoxication manslaughter charges. They hung his jersey in the visitors’ locker room in Cincinnati the day after the crash. Head coach Jason Garrett told reporters, “We want to embrace Josh and let him know that this is a good place for him. Being around Valley Ranch, being around his teammates is a good thing for him…he’s certainly welcome to be there.” In the week since the tragedy, Brent has visited with Garrett and team doctors. All signs point to the Cowboys wanting to keep Brent in the fold, though he faces charges and potential discipline from the league. Somewhere in my brain, I can understand the organizational support since Brent is a member of the Cowboys family, and NFL players often refer to themselves as a fraternity of brothers.

What I can barely grasp is the response from Jerry Brown’s actual family. His mother Stacey Jackson requested that Brent meet her at the airport when she flew in for a memorial service. Not just that, but she asked him to sit with the family during the service. The man responsible for the death of her 25-year-old son was right next to her the whole time. That floors me. I’m not a mom yet, but I do have two nieces who mean the world to me. I also have two brothers, one of whom is Brown’s age. I’m not naive enough to think I would show the same grace and mercy to a drunk driver who ended one of their lives, especially not in the 72 hours after it happened. But this mother who lost her son far too soon invited Brent to spend time with her, grieve with her, cry and mourn with her. I’m blown away by her forgiveness.

Yes, God asks us to forgive those who hurt us…hate the sin while loving the sinner. But in so many cases, it’s easier said than done. I’ve always despised drunk driving. When I was in high school, I won a series of speech contests with my passionate appeal to end drunk driving. In my opinion, it’s inexcusable to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when your judgment, cognition, and motor skills are impaired. In the eyes of the US justice system, it’s manslaughter; but to me, it’s murder if you end a human life while driving under the influence. The risks are scientific and well-documented, so I’ll never understand how people believe they can dodge the risks. It’s a game of Russian roulette with a motor vehicle.

Josh Brent weighs 320 pounds, and officials estimate he would need roughly 20 shots over 4 hours to raise his blood-alcohol level to .18 where it was at the time of the crash. As a starter in the NFL, he can easily pay for a cab OR he can use the free car service available to all players. He did neither. He climbed into his car to drive home after a night of partying, sped through the suburbs in the dark, flipped his vehicle, and killed his best friend. I’m sure he’s heartbroken and racked with guilt. He’s also forgiven. In spite of her anguish and a flood of uncontrollable emotion, Jerry Brown’s mom embraced Brent as part of the family. Stacey Jackson delivered the most powerful message in sports this week, a lesson I’ll never forget. Forgiveness is an action, not a feeling.